Did you know that I have my own wine club? I do! I’ve partnered with my friends at The Cellar d’Or in Ithaca, NY to bring the best and most interesting wine from the East Coast and Midwest straight to your door. We call it “The Cork Club” and I pick two wines each month that never exceed $60 total before shipping. These aren’t bin ends or mass-produced, factory wine garbage. These are real wines. These are the wines that I’m drinking myself and most excited about — from producers you’re never going to get anywhere else. 

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The Cork Club: April 2018 Selections

As I sit here at my desk writing this, we’re expecting 60-degree weather over the next couple of days. Spring has sprung — finally. At least I sure hope so.

I’m always excited about the wines I pick for you each and every month — I wouldn’t pick them if I weren’t. And this month is no exception. These are perfect wines to have on hand this time of year as the weather starts to warm and we start to see some early spring produce locally.

First up is a small production — only 95 cases — single-vineyard riesling: Billsboro Winery 2016 Leidenfrost Vineyard Riesling. Billsboro is owned and operated by veteran winemaker Vinny Aliperti (Atwater Vineyards) and his wife Kim. Vinny works with some of the top growers in the region and tasting his single-vineyard wines next to one another offers a great window into what each vineyard has to offer. This bone dry Riesling is apple-y and almost herbal but it’s the juicy, nervy acidity and a nice bit of concentration on the mid-palate that make it stand out. Fresh and crunchy, it’s that mouthfeel that drew me to it. Vinny doesn’t make much of this wine — so I’m thankful that we were able to get some for you.

Our second wine for April, Palmer Vineyards 2017 Albarino, began as an experiment in 2007 when Spanish-born winemaker Miguel Martin planted an acre of Albarino on the North Fork. The first release, in 2010, showed promise and he told me “I think Long Island may be blessed with the kind of conditions perfect for the production and growing of Albariño because of the similar weather patterns. I am very excited about the future potential of this variety in Long Island.” He’s not alone. Since that first release, not only has Palmer had a great string of successful vintages of Albarino — but that success has inspired others to plant the grape here on Long Island and elsewhere in New York.

There’s less of it to go around this year (you can blame the winter of 2016 for that), but the quality remains high. It begins with a melange of tropical fruits with light floral aromas on a highly aromatic nose. In the mouth, it’s juicy and dry with more tropical qualities, but also brisk Granny Smith apple flavors and acidity that lead into a wonderful saline minerality on a long finish. I’m allergic to shellfish, but in my mind I can picture this being a perfect foil for most any raw or cooked seafood preparations.

As always, I hope you enjoy the wines. Please let us know what you think!

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About Author

Lenn Thompson, a proud Pittsburgh, PA native, moved to Long Island more than a decade ago and quickly fell in love with the region’s dynamic and emerging wine community. A digital and content marketing and community professional by day, he founded NewYorkCorkReport.com in early 2004 to share his passion for the wines, beers and spirits of New York State. After running that site -- which became the premier source for independent New York wine commentary, reviews and news -- for 12 years, he launched TheCorkReport.us in late 2016 to add the wines of Virginia, Maryland, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Vermont and beyond to his beat. Lenn currently serves as the wine columnist for The Suffolk Times weekly newspaper and is the former editor of the Long Island Wine Gazette. He contributes or has contributed to publications like Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Beverage Media, Edible Brooklyn, Edible East End and Edible Hudson Valley. Lenn served on the board of directors for Drink Local Wine, and is the creator and founder of TasteCamp, an annual regional wine immersion conference for writers and trade. An admitted riesling and cabernet franc fanatic, he’s intensely passionate about eating local and the many local wine regions of America. Lenn lives in Miller Place, NY with his wife Nena, son Jackson, daughter Anna and their dog, Casey Lemieux Thompson.

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